XS NOIZE at AIM Independent Music Awards 2019

XS NOIZE at AIM Independent Music Awards 2019 2
© Callum Baker

AIM CEO Paul Pacifico promised to do “something spectacular” to mark the twentieth anniversary of the independent music awards. With seven out of ten of the Mercury Music Prize nominees being AIM members; there is more to celebrate than ever. With sixteen awards, this year’s AIM Awards was destined to be “the biggest and most exciting yet!” If this wasn’t enough to raise the hairs at the back of your neck; there were intimate live performances by AJ Tracey, Johnny Marr, Georgia and Ms Banks as well as DJ sets which included Lets Eat Grandma.

The awards ceremony was presented by Lauren Laverne who was excited to return to the Roundhouse (after all, last time she was there; she interviewed John Frusciante (Red Hot Chilli peppers)). AIM kicked off with a live performance by British hip-hop artist and record producer AJ Tracey from “Ladbroke Grove”, West London who has a multi-million YouTube viewed track bearing the same name.

AIM Awards records were broken! Idles were nominated for five awards. Unlike Craig David (nominated for six BRIT’s); Idles won twice with the bohemian combination of UK Independent Breakthrough act and Difficult Second Album awards. Idles reflected upon these awards with pride whilst announcing they were presently writing their third LP (without any of the symptoms of third album syndrome). Rapper Dave also won two awards for his number one single, “Funky Friday” and number one Gold LP, Psychodrama. Awards were also awarded to Jade Bird, Georgia, Hot Chip, Freya Ridings and Gerry Cinnamon who accepted his award with an important message of “Self-belief”.

© Sarah Louise Bennett

Alongside the artists, the small and independent labels that offered a platform for these celebrated artists to be heard received awards too. Scruff of the Neck Records (who have achieved 12 million and counting Spotify streams) won Best Small Label and Partisan records received the Best Independent Label award. Naturally, AIM is about celebrating new artists and those who put their time, risk, effort and financial backing into them; but it was also an opportunity to celebrate established musical household musical names too.

Debbie Harry (Blondie) was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award to Music by Ray Davis (The Kinks). The Pioneer Award went to Johnny Marr who acknowledged that it was “even harder now for young musicians” to make it. Entrepreneurs including Charles Caldas and Allen Kovac (who received a video tribute from Richard Branson) also received awards.

© Sarah Louise Bennett

Post ceremony, Johnny Marr, still fresh from his live performance at the Southbank Meltdown Festival kicked things off opening with “The Tracers” which he ebulliently followed with “Bigmouth Strikes Again”. In many ways, Marr’s set was similar to the performance he gave at Meltdown save allowing the occasion exaggerated guitar distortion in place of falsetto riffs. Playing out with “How Soon Is Now?”; the Roundhouse was left in good spirits to receive a live rendition from multi-instrumentalist and winner of the AIM One to Watch Award, Georgia.

© Sarah Louise Bennett

The story of Georgia is fascinating and despite her father being Neil Barnes (Leftfield); Georgia’s origins began in football. Scouted at the age of eight; Georgia reached her football zenith by playing for Arsenal ladies. All this before a stint at Brit School! The producer and multi-instrumentalist literally took the Roundhouse on her own; with no backing musicians or singers. Despite a small, but noticeable exodus following Marr’s performance and much of the stage looking bare; Georgia didn’t disappoint with her motley of electronic dance sounds, experimental beats and unassuming melodies.

© Callum Baker

The final live act has been officially quoted as being “Nicki Minaj’s Favourite rapper” who toured with Cardi B. The artist was south Londoner Ms Banks. The tall hip-hop artist (whose height has caused much speculation online) lit up the Roundhouse with a Midas blessed jumpsuit. Whilst her musician friends and fans are well documented (including Shingai Shoniwa (The Noisettes) who was in the audience); Miss Banks was all about bonding and interacting with the fans by finding out where they were from. Despite the occasional mute void between some of the tracks; like Nicki Minaj, Ms Banks’ (also a powerful and talented rapper and singer) knew how to maximise one of her main assets: her booty. Ms Banks proved she was in the same league as the “Super Bass” star when she invited audience members on stage to dance with her.

© Jennifer McCord

The AIM awards had many “aims” (including having a charity partner ClientEarth) and achieved them all beyond expectation with hopefully a lasting legacy. Whilst the turbulence in the music industry couldn’t be ignored; the plethora of artists and the cross-section of music genres they are able to bring to the table through AIM means that the music and the future of music is as optimistic and exciting as ever.


AIM Independent Music Awards Winners & Nominees

In order of presentation:

Best Live Act (in association with Songkick)

  • AJ Tracey
  • Calpurnia
  • Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
  • Gerry Cinnamon WINNER

Best Small Label (in association with Proper Music Group)

  • Fuzz Club Records
  • Killing Moon
  • Local Action
  • Scruff of the Neck WINNER
  • Speedy Wunderground

Best Creative Packaging (in association with MCPS)

  • Various Artists, hand-picked and curated in collaboration with The Rolling Stones, “Confessin’ the Blues” WINNER
  • Murlo, “Dolos”
  • IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance”
  • Various Artists, Sick Music 2019 compilation
  • Keith Richards, “Talk Is Cheap”

UK Independent Breakthrough (in association with YouTube Music)

  • Black Midi
  • Ezra Collective
  • Gerry Cinnamon
  • Jade Bird

Outstanding Contribution to Music in association with Merlin

  • Debbie Harry WINNER

Best Independent Album (in association with Spotify)

  • Better Oblivion Community Center, “Better Oblivion Community Center”
  • Christine And The Queens, “Chris”
  • Dave, “Psychodrama” WINNER
  • Fontaines D.C., “Dogrel”
  • Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, “End of Suffering”
  • Jade Bird, “Jade Bird”
  • Jordan Rakei, “Origin”
  • Little Simz, “GREY Area”
  • Snapped Ankles, “Stunning Luxury”
  • Swindle, “No More Normal”

Best [Difficult] Second Album (in association with Key Production)

  • Erland Cooper, “Sule Skerry”
  • IDLES, “Joy as an Act of Resistance.” WINNER
  • Julia Jacklin, “Crushing”
  • Maribou State, “Kingdoms In Colour”
  • SOAK, “Grim Town”

PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Artist

  • AJ Tracey
  • Cosmo Sheldrake
  • Freya Ridings WINNER
  • Guru Randhawa
  • Jorja Smith

International Breakthrough (in association with Creative Industries Federation)

  • Afro B
  • Jade Bird WINNER
  • Maribou State
  • Nilüfer Yanya

Innovator Award in association with Amazon Music

  • Allen Kovac WINNER

Best Independent Video (in association with Vevo)

  • Christine and the Queens, “5 Dollars”
  • Hot Chip, “Hungry Child” WINNER
  • John Grant, “He’s Got His Mother’s Hips”
  • Caleb Steph, “Black Boy”
  • FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”

Best Independent Track (in association with Facebook)

  • Dave, “Funky Friday (ft. Fredo)”  WINNER
  • FKA Twigs, “Cellophane”
  • Fontaines D.C., “Boys In The Better Land”
  • Georgia, “About Work The Dancefloor”
  • JARV IS, “Must I Evolve”
  • Jai Paul, “Do You Love Her Now”
  • Holly Herndon, “Eternal”
  • Little Simz, “Selfish (ft. Celo Sol)”
  • Sharon Van Etten, “Seventeen”
  • Four Tet, “Teenage Birdsong”

One To Watch (in association with BBC Music Introducing)

  • Arlo Parks
  • Barney Artist
  • Georgia WINNER
  • Larkins

Best Independent Label (in association with [PIAS])

  • Brownswood Recordings
  • Domino
  • Nuclear Blast
  • Partisan Records WINNER
  • Rough Trade

Pioneer Award in association with Bucks Music Group

  • Johnny Marr WINNER

Indie Champion in association with ClientEarth

  • Charles Caldas WINNER
Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 346 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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